Strategy. Innovation. Brand.

Rhetoric

The Greeks invented the science of persuasion – they called it rhetoric. The posts in this category give a brief overview.

Code Words & Tribal Grooming

You may not have noticed it but, throughout this video series, we’ve been talking mainly about deliberative presentations.  In such a presentation, you present a logical argument and your audience deliberates on it.  You’re recommending a course of action and trying to convince the audience of the wisdom of your logic.  There’s an entirely different animal called the demonstrative presentation — where logic is simply not needed.  In a demonstrative presentation, you’re building group solidarity, a sense of belonging, and esprit de corps.  It’s sometimes called identity politics. Jay Heinrichs calls it “tribal grooming” and logic has nothing to do with it.  Before you develop your presentation, you should decide whether you want to be deliberative or demonstrative. Learn more in this week’s Persuasive Communication Tip of the Week.

Disagreeing Effectively

Let’s say you’re having an argument and your opponent has stated his position clearly. You’d like to persuade him to change his position. But you’re working against the consistency principle — once your opponent has stated a position, inertia keeps him from changing it. Your argument needs to be clear and compelling but it also needs to provide a way for your opponent to change positions gracefully. While it may be tempting, making your opponent feel small or cornered is usually unsuccessful. Remember, you’re interested in persuading, not humiliating.  Similarly, making your argument overly abstract doesn’t do much good. You need to get personal and stay positive.  Learn more in the video.

This tip has a lot to do with the consistency principle — and how to overcome it.  You can find more on the consistency principle here.

Building Credibility (the Wrong Way) Can Reduce Trustworthiness

As a public speaker, your first objective is to use your communication tools
to establish that you are a trustworthy person and create a bond with the audience. One element of this is credibility — the audience wants to know that you have the practical experience to give good advice.  So, in general, building your credibility also builds your trustworthiness.  But if you build credibility the wrong way, you will reduce your trustworthiness and cripple your ability to persuade.  Learn more in the video.

Speaking Human

When we want to let people know how smart we are during a speaking presentation, we often dress up our language. We use more formal diction, bigger words, and formidable phrasing. We often toss in a lot of jargon as well. Typically, however, it doesn’t work. We just sound stuffy, self-important, and boring. We’re trying to show the audience how smart we are which is always a losing strategy. Much better to show the audience how smart they are. You do this by speaking human — conversational, easy-to-understand, and plain spoken. As the saying goes, you should eschew obfuscation. Learn more in the video.

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